BBC to come under scrutiny in independent review

The BBC is to undergo an independent review into how it’s governed and regulated, the UK Government announced today (Wednesday, September 16).
It will be carefully assessed by an independent team led by former chairman of Virgin Money Sir David Clementi, who was previously a deputy governor of the Bank of England, as part of the ongoing review of its Royal Charter to make sure it remains a valued public broadcaster.
Clementi has been asked to make proposals in relation to the following:
  • the model of governance and regulation of the BBC;
  • the specific mechanisms of governance and regulation; and
  • the way in which the BBC and the bodies that govern and regulate it engage with licence fee payers and industry.
He has been asked by secretary of state for culture, media and sport John Whittingdale MP to submit a report in early 2016.
Whittingdale said: “Television is of huge importance to the nation – and the BBC lies at the heart of British television. However no-one could deny that the BBC has made some bad mistakes in the last few years. Savile, McAlpine, Ross-Brand, severance payments and excessive salaries have all contributed to a widespread view that the governance structure needs reform.
“So as part of the Charter Review process, I am pleased to announce that I am setting up an independent review into the governance and regulation of the BBC. It will be conducted by Sir David Clementi, whose experience – including being Deputy Governor of the Bank of England and reviewing the regulation of legal services in England and Wales – makes him uniquely placed to undertake this review.”
Clementi added: “The BBC is a world class broadcaster and requires effective governance and regulation. I look forward to conducting this review.”
There are currently three key groups that make up the system of governance and regulation of the BBC: the BBC Executive, the BBC Trust and Ofcom.
The BBC Executive Board’s role is to run the BBC. It’s responsible for delivering the BBC’s services, its editorial and creative output, and management of the BBC, in line with the strategies and priorities set by the Trust.
The BBC Trust is the sovereign body of the BBC and aims to act as stewards of the licence fee. It’s responsible for setting the strategic direction of the BBC, approving the high-level strategy and budgets for services, and holding the BBC Executive to account in delivering this.
As the regulator responsible for the wider broadcasting and telecommunications landscape, Ofcom has a variety of responsibilities that relate to the BBC, including its regulation of broadcast content (e.g. in relation to issues such as harm and offence), handling complaints on these issues, and looking at how the BBC impacts on the wider market.
According to the government, the BBC Charter Review consultation paper makes it clear that good governance and regulation are vital to a successful BBC and that this will help to make sure the right framework of accountability, incentives, checks and balances are in place so that the it delivers for licence fee payers, takes account of its market impact, spends its money wisely and is held to account in doing so.
Find out more about the BBC Charter Review.